Skip to main content

Walk O City

[A writeup by Jaya Prakash Kallikkal on a new concept that can be used by urban planners for building people friendly cities by adoption of technologies aimed at pedestrian traffic, cyclists and alternative mode of passenger and goods movement across cities]

Rapidly shrinking cities owing to rising population and increasing vehicular traffic is a cause of huge concern for individuals and communities in terms of deteriorating health and pollution.  We are today witnessing a massive push for construction of roads and metros especially in the cities.

While roads are re-laid over existing tracks, traditional highways are being expanded wider into four and six-lane driveways with varying speed limits.  A big causality of urbanization is safe walk ways for pedestrians and cycle tracks for cyclists.  

Most cities in India, including Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai were proud inheritors of wide green turfs and open lawns.  However pressure of urbanization and dwindling land packets due to construction activities and scarcity of spaces has pushed pedestrian traffic out of gear.  We are now moving in a direction where less and less space is earmarked for walkers and cyclists, while more and more spaces are being made out for vehicular traffic.

It is a matter of great concern that cities are decaying owing to outright neglect of pedestrians and cyclists who in reality the biggest segment of representing population of a said place.  This naturally leads to a question why is this segment being neglected? Is it the phenomenal money power of the automobile industry that is propelling an un-relenting demand for motor vehicles leading to constriction of spaces on roads and cutting into the spaces meant for pedestrians and cyclists?

Though no solution has come to the rescue of this group, it can be noted that the very technology that is pushing growth in terms of adding up of Metro rail in cities can now be used to completely transform the urban landscape.

Current scenario can be radically reformed by design and construction of a network of walkways, subways and inter-segments in the belly of a city that would be revolutionary in not just reducing vehicular clutter in the city but also prove to be the next level of urban landscape.  Technology for such activity is already available and can be used for construction of vast passages across the city that could be exclusively used by walkers and cyclists.   
Currently multiple types of construction possibilities exist main among them are the Cut-and-cover tunnels which are constructed in a shallow trench and then covered over, another method is Bored tunnels which is constructed on site without removing the ground above.  Another method is sinking of pre-fabricated steel or concrete tubes inside trenches where sub soil is immersed in water especially under riverbeds or ocean floors where these tubes are immersed and connected thereby helping in pumping away of water before construction.
Another technology known as Bertha widens the construction options for underground walkways.  Bertha is a Japanese technology designed and manufactured by Hitachi Zosen Sakai Works of Osaka is perhaps the world's largest earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine, with a cutter head diameter of 57.5 feet (17.5 m) across. The machine can be as long as 326 feet (99 m) and weighs nearly 6,700 short tons (6,100 t).  Another Austrian Technology known as NATM (New Austrian Tunnelling Method) uses conventional tunnel excavation/sequential excavation involves tunnelling through Mechanical excavation and controlled blasting wherein initially the earth is excavated and a primary lining of concrete, steel and lattice girders, wire mesh and rock bolts are applied for stabilizing soil as per geological strata which is reinforced by use of M-25 concrete.

Unless the option of movement and support for environment is not given, cities risk the chances of decay.  Underground walkways and cycle tracks are the next generation of planning options that should be part of urban town planners vision.  Lack of resources and technology are excuses that administrators and politicians use to divert core issues of development and future vision aimed at benefiting urban masses.  It is time Metros and cities in India rise up to the occasion and build up a fascinating underground landscape for movement of people and goods that besides saving fuel and cutting pollution shall go a long way in fostering universal health paving way to a better future for mankind.


  1. good stuff. we need underground walkways like yesterday.

  2. Nice write up need of the hour.we should create a public opinion on this issue. So our planners have a considered view and augument this in future urban planning


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Story of our Loom

  Today is National Handloom Da y.   Swadeshi   Movement was launched on this very day i.e.   7 th  August, 1905 . Handloom reflects the glorious traditions of Indian Textile Industry and an era of self reliance in the area of garment production and fashion.   History is replete with instances of Indian textiles occupying high demand within Indian borders and far across the oceans. Handloom is also a significant source of livelihood which holds capacity to empower artisans associated with the profession.   It is estimated that 70% of all handloom weavers and allied workers in India are women.   However, being a household activity and entrenched in rural backgrounds, imperfect and often cheap imitations through power looms and illegal inroads through mills have brought this sector into a state of slow decay and death. I belong to Kerala and hail from the district of Palakkad. For several centuries handloom weaves from the Villages of Kollengode, Chittoor, Devangapuram, Kallanchira, Ne

In Trance: Chottanikkara Bhagawathy temple

  Hinduism offers answers to innumerable cryptic puzzles of life that are very simple to observe but too complex to gauge through available information in the current scientific system of understanding and research. 1500 year old Chottanikkara Bhagawathy temple situated in the suburbs of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala carries forward the ancient system of ritual worship centred around Goddess Bhadrakali that untangles the web of paranormal and supernatural through mantric practices.  Precincts of this majestic temple exudes a distinct aura and energy field that follows a devotee in and around the temple. G od’s own country, Kerala can also be called a land of festivals, temples and rituals. During a recent visit to Kochi, I was impelled to visit Chottanikkara Bhagawati Kshetram, a powerful devi temple located at 9.9331° N, 76.3911° E, in the suburbs of Ernakulam. Believed to be more than 1500 year old, the temple carries a mystical force around its precincts that dwells around a devo

Mannil Krishnan by Mannil Vikraman (In Malayalam)

മണ്ണിൽ കൃഷ്ണനെ അറിയുന്ന ഞാൻ     എന്റെ ബാല്യകാല സ്മരണകളിൽ അവധിക്കെത്തുന്ന കൃഷ്ണേട്ടയാണ് ഇന്നും. പ്രൗഢഗംഭീരമായ നടത്തവും കൃശഗാത്രനാണെങ്കിലും തലയെടുപ്പോടെയുള് കുശലാന്വേഷണങ്ങളും അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ മാറ്റുകൂട്ടിയിരുന്നു. ഭാരത തലസ്ഥാനത്ത്‌ ഭരണയന്ത്രം നിലകൊള്ളുന്ന സെക്രട്ടറിയേറ്റിൽ ഗതാഗത മന്ത്രാലയത്തിലായിരുന്നു ഉദ്യോഗം. അവധിക്കു നാട്ടിലെത്തുന്ന എല്ലാ വർഷവും പുതുമയേറിയ പല ഉപകരണങ്ങളും കൊണ്ടുവന്നു തറവാട്ടിൽ പ്രദർശിപ്പിക്കാറുണ്ട്‌. തറവാട്ടിലെ മറ്റംഗങ്ങളെ അവരുടെ വീടുകൾ സന്ദർശിച്ച് വിശേഷങ്ങൾ അന്വേഷിക്കാറു പതിവാണ്. ഉദ്യോഗത്തിനായി നാടുവിട്ടശേഷം അദ്ദേഹത്തെ ഞാൻ കാണുന്നത് ന്യൂഡൽഹിയിൽ വെച്ചായിരുന്നു. അവിടെ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ അനൗദ്യോഗിക കർമമണ്ഡലം എന്നെ വിസ്‌മ യിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ ഡൽഹി ആർ.കെ.പുരത്തെ അയ്യപ്പ ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ മൂലസ്ഥാനമായ മുനീർക്കയിൽ അയ്യപ്പ വിഗ്രഹം പ്രതിഷ്ഠ നടന്നത് മുതൽ ഇന്ന് കാണുന്ന ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ വളർച്ചക്ക് കാരണഭൂതരായവരിൽ മണ്ണിൽ കൃഷ്ണന്റെ പങ്കു വളരെ വലുതാണ്. മുനീർക്കയിൽ നിന്ന് ആർ.കെ.പുരം സെക്ടർ II ലേക്ക് അയ്യപ്പ ക്ഷേത്രം മാറ്റാനുള്ള പ്രത്യേക കാരണം ഇന്ദിര ഗാന്ധി പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ച എമെർജൻസിയ